BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
KAYSVILLE — It was a tragedy followed by a comedy followed by a comic tragedy.
The one-act plays performed by sixth graders at Burton Elementary weren’t just any one-act plays.
The students used the style lines and vocabulary of William Shakespeare in telling their modern-day tales.
Their stories were full of phrases that are not often heard in elementary schools, phrases such as:
“I have accepted thy challenge.”
“Lost your mind, have you?”
“My ears deceiveth me.”
“What art thou doing here?”
The stories were of a honeymoon gone awry, a bad substitute teacher becoming permanent, a restaurant ruined by a rat and more.
They ended with more familiar phrases: “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool,” from As You Like It, and “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” from the Merchant of Venice.
“We study a lot of people through history and through the Renaissance, and we found that Shakespeare wrote plays strictly based on life and the environment and the current events of the day,” said Kathy Sutherland, who teaches the 27 sixth graders.
They didn’t read entire plays, but studied segments.
Students first wrote plays based on their experiences or interests, then worked to “Shakespeare-it-up,” said Sutherland, then they auditioned, directed and performed 11 of the 27 plays for three different audiences.
“They loved it,” she said, of the exercise, which taught not only history but drama, speaking and vocabulary.
One student was interested in Shakespeare when the study began, said Sutherland. With this experience, she has seen all of the students develop an interest in the 16th century playwright and his works.
“ They were seeing it from a different perspective,” she said.